Companion planting is a great way to garden efficiently and get the most out of your plants. By growing cucumbers and broccoli together, you can take advantage of their mutual benefits and have two crops in the same space.
The cucumbers will help to shade the broccoli, and the broccoli will help to keep the cucumber vines from becoming too leggy.
Let’s take a look at companion planting these two legendary vegetables.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is a gardening technique where you plant two or more different plants close together in order to take advantage of their benefits.
For example, some plants release chemicals that can suppress the growth of nearby weeds. Other plants improve the soil quality or attract beneficial insects.
By companion planting cucumbers and broccoli, you can take advantage of each plant’s benefits and have a more productive garden.
What Are Cucumber and Broccoli?
Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are part of the gourd family, which includes squash, pumpkins, and watermelons. They’re annual plants that grow on long vines and produce small, green fruits.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is a member of the cabbage family. It’s an annual plant that produces large, edible flower heads. The most common type of broccoli is called Calabrese broccoli, named after the Italian region where it was developed.
The Benefits of Companion Planting Cucumber and Broccoli
There are several benefits to companion planting cucumbers and broccoli together.
The cucumbers will provide shade for the broccoli, which will help keep the cucumber vines from becoming too leggy.
In addition, the two plants will benefit from each other’s nutrients. The broccoli will add nitrogen to the soil, and the cucumbers will help to aerate the soil and improve drainage.
How to Grow Cucumber and Broccoli Together
When companion planting cucumber and broccoli, choosing a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil is important. Cucumbers need at least six hours of sunlight per day, so choose a spot with plenty of sun.
It’s also important to plant cucumbers and broccoli at the right time. Cucumbers should be planted after the last frost, and broccoli should be planted two weeks before the last frost.
To plant the cucumbers, create a hill of loose soil about 12 inches across. Plant four or five seeds in the center of the hill, and then cover them with soil.
Thin the seedlings to three per hill once they’ve sprouted.
To plant the broccoli, dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the roots of the plant. Loosen up the soil at the bottom of the hole, and then place the plant in the hole so that the roots are spread out evenly.
Fill in the hole with soil, and water the plant well.
Once the cucumbers and broccoli are in the ground, make sure to keep them watered. Both plants need about an inch of water per week.
You can also mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and keep down weeds.
As the cucumber plants begin to vine, you may need to provide support in the form of a trellis or tomato cage. The broccoli plants will also benefit from some support as they get taller.
Stake the plants when they’re about 12 inches tall, using bamboo stakes or similar materials.
When Are Cucumber and Broccoli Ready to Harvest?
Cucumbers are typically ready to harvest 50-70 days after planting. The fruits will be about six to eight inches long when they’re ready to pick.
On the other hand, broccoli is usually ready to harvest in 60-90 days. The flower heads should be firm and green when they’re ready to pick.
You can extend the harvesting period of cucumbers and broccoli by regularly picking the fruits and flower heads. This will encourage the plants to produce more fruit.
Harvesting Tips for Both Cucumber and Broccoli
When harvesting cucumbers, use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut the fruit from the vine. If you’re not going to use the cucumbers right away, store them in a cool, dry place.
To harvest broccoli, cut the flower heads from the plant using a sharp knife or garden shears. Broccoli can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Companion planting is a great way to save space in your garden and take advantage of each plant’s benefits. Growing cucumber and broccoli together gives you a more productive garden.
How to Store Cucumber and Broccoli
Cucumbers can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks. Likewise, broccoli should be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If you’re not going to use the cucumbers or broccoli right away, you can also pickle them or freeze them for later use.
Pickled cucumbers and broccoli are a great way to add flavor to your meals, and they’ll last for several months in the fridge. To pickle cucumbers, slice them into thin rounds and add them to a jar with vinegar, water, salt, and spices.
To pickle broccoli, chop the florets into small pieces and add them to a jar with vinegar, water, salt, and spices.
Both cucumbers and broccoli can also be frozen. To freeze cucumbers, wash them and slice them into thin rounds. Then, place the cucumber slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for two hours.
After two hours, transfer the cucumber slices to a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen cucumbers will last for up to six months.
To freeze broccoli, wash the florets and blanch them in boiling water for two minutes. Afterward, immediately plunge the florets into ice water to stop cooking.
Drain the florets and pat them dry. Next, spread the florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for two hours.
Tips for Success on How to Care for Cucumber and Broccoli
- Cucumbers and broccoli both need full sun to produce high yields. Make sure to plant them in an area of your garden that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day.
- Both cucumbers and broccoli prefer well-drained, sandy soil. Consider adding some organic matter to improve drainage if your soil is heavy or clay-like.
- Cucumbers and broccoli are both sensitive to frost, so make sure to plant them after the last frost date in your area.
- Water cucumbers and broccoli regularly, making sure to provide each plant with about an inch of water per week. Mulching around the plants will help retain moisture and keep down weeds.
- Harvest cucumbers and broccoli regularly to encourage continued production.
With proper care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of cucumbers and broccoli all season long!